French kids warm to Disney toon at box office

Disney’s 2D toon “The Princess and the Frog” hopped to an impressive launch in several key territories at the international B.O. over the Jan. 29-31 weekend, competing neck-and-neck for top placement in France with 20th Century Fox’s 3D giant “Avatar.”

Toon grossed $7.5 million in that territory at 667 screens for a seven-day total of $8.2 million. France’s take accounted for almost 75% of the toon’s overall $9.9 million weekend gross.

Another notable bow for “Princess” was in the U.K. where at one screen the toon earned $41,000, besting the launch of Disney’s “Bolt” by 30%.

“This film supports a great heritage and legacy that Disney is all about,” said David Kornblum, VP of intl. sales and distribution at Disney. “In a market like the U.K., we felt giving it that exclusive window … was appropriate.”

Toon’s international cume is $79.5 million at 2,725 screens in 33 territories, having already screened in top holdover markets like Italy with $14.1 million and Germany, grossing $11.6 million.

Mouse House plans a steady rollout for the toon with bows next weekend in key markets like Spain and Portugal, as well as a wide expansion in the U.K.

Despite a solid showing for the hand-drawn toon, it was still no match for “Avatar,” grossing $95.4 million at 11,088 screens in 120 markets, slipping 12% to claim the No. 1 spot overseas in its seventh frame.

Pic’s international cume rose to $1.48 billion combined with a domestic cume of $601.1 million as of Feb. 2, surpassing “Titanic’s” $600.8 million benchmark, “Avatar’s” worldwide gross totaled $2.05 billion.

Top territory Italy saw an 18% drop for “Avatar” in its third frame to gross $11 million at 906 screens. “Avatar,” whose cume reached $55.7 million over the weekend, remains second only to “Titanic” with $58 million in that market.

Japanese auds turned out for Cameron’s sci-fi pic in a big way, boosting figures 20% with $6.9 million in its sixth frame, compared to last weekend’s $5.7 million take with a 2% uptick. “Avatar” should continue to perform well during Japan’s Golden Week — a cluster of national holidays in late April and early May. Pic should top $100 million within the coming weeks, having already cumed $92.1 million.

“Avatar” jumped the $100 million mark in other top markets, including Germany and the U.K. In the U.K. pic dropped only 7% in its seventh frame, earning $7.8 million; while German auds shelled out $8 million, down just 9% from last weekend. Pic has earned a total $105.7 million and $106.5 million, respectively.

Led by “Avatar,” the Chinese B.O. saw a 19% increase in revenue from last January, taking in more than $150 million. “Avatar” has cumed $127 million.

In its fourth frame, the pic grossed $10 million at 1,413 screens. Pic was pulled from some 1,500 2D screens to make room for the local biopic “Confucius,” which has earned $9.5 million since its release.

Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes” took in $16.8 million at 4,625 screens in 61 territories, bringing its overseas total to $220.3 million.

Notable market for the Brit pic included Germany, where it opened to $4.5 million behind “Avatar.” Pic dropped 42% in its third frame in Spain, earning $1.8 million for a cume of $11.5 million, while totals in leading territories, the U.K. and Italy, reached $37.3 million and $28.9 million, respectively.

Another overseas toon holdover, Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” continued to charm auds in its sixth frame, slipping 7% with $11 million at 4,503 screens in 46 markets.

A strong opening in Italy with $2.7 million, combined with $1.9 million in the U.K helped boost the toon’s international cume to $190.6 million.

Paramount’s “Up in the Air” grossed $10.5 million at 2,580 screens in 37 territories for an international cume of $35 million.

Pic opened in 11 new territories, including a strong bow in France where it earned $2.3 million at 311 screens. In Italy, the Oscar-nominated film grossed $1.6 million at 252 screens in its soph sesh, while in the U.K. it earned $1.3 million in its third weekend at 337.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Bejing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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